Today marks Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, when the 19th Amendment was added to the US Constitution in 1920. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last 96 years – but as it stands, the U.S. Constitution still has no explicit ban on sex discrimination.
It’s time to complete the dream of the suffragist movement by adding the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
The Equal Rights Amendment has been introduced in every Congress from 1923 until it was passed by Congress in 1972. From 1972 to 1982, it was ratified by 35 states, falling short of the 38 needed for final adoption.
In the current Congress, two resolutions have been introduced to pass the ERA. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s resolution is a start-over version with one line of added language that includes the word ‘women.’ If passed and ratified, it would be the first time women would be explicitly named and given rights in the U.S. Constitution. Not even the 19th Amendment, which we are celebrating today, writes “women” into the document.
The other effort is a resolution introduced by Congresswoman Jackie Speier in the House and Ben Cardin in the Senate. The “Three States Strategy,” as it is known, is working to lift the time limit placed in the preamble of the Equal Rights Amendment that was passed out of Congress in 1972 and extended by Congress in 1978.